What If I Have A Good Bishop?

By now you’ve probably heard the news that faithful Catholics all across America are closing their pocket books to all diocesan money drives. I’ve mentioned it here on this blog and on my social media channels. In addition, other Catholic media outlets have also come out with a similar message. Even EWTN is now covering this. It’s a big movement and it’s going to get a lot bigger in the months ahead.

Now, as foretold, the other shoe has dropped. A massive demonstration is planned to be held outside the US Bishops Conference in Baltimore this November 12-15. It is likely to be loud, angry and mournful, but also peaceful and law-abiding. Watch the video above if you want to get a taste of what it’s going to be like. The demonstration will be attended primarily by faithful Catholics from around the nation. We are Catholics, after all, not a bunch of Secular Pagans. So while the demonstration will be pretty emotional, it’s not going to be dangerous.

I am leading by example in withholding my personal donations from my diocesan jurisdiction. In turn, I have increased my regular donations to my local parish, and earmarked them for a specific fund strictly related to that parish. This was easy to do, and any Catholic can do it, just by writing a note on the check. So I encourage others to do the same.

As I stated in a previous essay (see here), in order to get the message across, all the bishops must be made to feel it, even the good along with the bad. Now, I’m under no delusions here. I know that bishops will receive their regular cathedraticum from their parishes anyway. So all this moving money around isn’t really going to choke the bishops of their finances. It will, however, send a clear message, as bishops are forced to rely more and more on cathedraticum than direct donations from the laity. They’ll long for the good ol’ days when people used to give freely, and they weren’t so dependent on their parish tax just to keep things operational at the chancery. That’s the point. It sends a very clear message to the bishops that we, the laity, are not happy with how things have been run in the US Catholic Church.

The question arises, rightly, about good bishops. What if I have a good bishop? Why should he be made to suffer along with the bad? Let me answer that with how things are in my own case. I am a lucky one. I happen to have a good bishop. In fact, my bishop is not only good, he’s also new, and has only been a bishop for a few years. His jurisdiction is clean, and has not had the problems many other dioceses have suffered. I also happen to be acquainted with two other local bishops, and one of them is a friend who has really helped me multiple times. I won’t name any of them here, so as to avoid any embarrassment upon them, but I will say with absolute confidence that they are good bishops. I will be the first to say, that insofar as these men are concerned, it is unfair that they should have to suffer along with the wicked. However, this isn’t about punishing people. This financial boycott is about waking people up and getting their attention, especially the good bishops.

Trust me, the bad bishops don’t care about our petty, little, financial boycott. They can grab all the money they need by taxing the hell out of their parishes, selling off those that don’t produce enough, and getting government grants for everything else. No doubt, many of them shall do just that in the months and years ahead. It’s the good bishops we’re primarily trying to reach with this boycott. They need to step up to the plate now, and they need to let the pope know that they too are suffering from the criminal mismanagement of their brother bishops in the United States. They also need to tell these bad bishops, to their face, that their criminal mismanagement has brought hardship on their own dioceses and is affecting everyone. They need to stand with the laity in demanding the resignations (or suspensions) of all these wicked men in mitres who have brought this evil upon us for decades (not years). The laity have been spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically molested by these men, and their cohorts in the priesthood, for far too long. We need good bishops to stand at our side, and walk with us (even march with us), demanding justice. Everyone knows what needs to be done. Policy changes won’t fix anything. Heads must roll. By that I mean these wicked bishops have got to go, everyone one of them, and we begin by asking who knew what about McCarrick and when? This is just the beginning. Trust me, more questions about different bishops will soon follow.

Honestly, if I were a wicked bishop (connected in any way to this mess), I would be resigning right now. I would want to get out now, “while the gittin’s good” before people start asking me questions. Maybe I would cite “health reasons” or “family matters” or whatever. But I would run like hell now, before roads start leading back to me. But that’s me however. I have a conscience. I actually care about people, and it would physically kill me, literally eat me up from the inside out, if I knew that I had knowledge of a colleague who was ruining people’s lives and I did nothing to stop it. We are talking about older men, in positions of spiritual authority, using that authority to coerce other men into homosexual acts, and sometimes those victims weren’t even men yet, but rather teenage boys under eighteen. This isn’t some little tryst between two hapless and confused teenagers in college. This is sexual predation of older men on younger men (sometimes women), using their positions of spiritual authority to coerce and blackmail people into doing things they don’t want to do! That’s called sexual harassment and it’s illegal, even if the victim is an adult. The following is from the website of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission…

Sexual Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

SOURCE

Now, I understand that there is a separation of Church and state in this country. And I understand that the EEOC does not have jurisdiction over the Catholic Church, or any other religious institution for that matter. However, it also seems to me that the Catholic Church should hold itself to at least as high a standard (if not higher) than what the EEOC demands of secular employers, and those standards should apply to all Catholics everywhere, whether they be in seminaries, colleges, schools, hospitals or parishes. We can’t expect the bad bishops to abide by this, but we can expect the good bishops to demand it alongside us. That is what this financial boycott is really about.

There is no room in the Catholic hierarchy for men like McCarrick and those who enabled him with their silence. I’m sorry, there is just no room at all. They must go. It would be easier on everyone if they went voluntarily now, before the real heat is applied this November, and after, but we can’t expect wicked men to do the right thing.

This is why the good bishops must be made to suffer right along with them. It’s an unfair situation, which they don’t deserve, but it is necessary to bring about the changes needed. They can offer this financial inconvenience up to Christ as part of their cross to bear, and surely Christ will hear them.

If you happen to have a good bishop, as I do, it might be advisable to write him a short note and send it to the chancery office, or perhaps give it to your priest (if he can be trusted) who can in turn give it to your bishop on your behalf. This actually might be more advisable in some cases. The note should read something like this…

Your Excellency,

I have decided to join in solidarity with other Catholics across America in a financial boycott of all diocesan fundraisers over the sexual-abuse scandal that has befallen us yet again in this nation. Please know that I do not attribute any wrongdoing to you personally, and while it is unfair for your diocese to be inconvenienced this way, my conscience demands solidarity with our Catholic brothers and sisters in other dioceses.

I am sincerely yours in Christ,

{{{{ Sign Your Name Here }}}}

This should get the message across in a civil and tactful way, that shows no harshness or malice on your part. It also lets you bishop know he’s not part of the problem. Or if you prefer, just don’t say anything at all.

The time for rage is now. Whatever anger we may feel on this, it is a holy and righteous anger, because it is directed toward sin. The time for demonstration will be in November. However, beyond that we need to buckle up for the long term. Few have confidence this matter can be settled in one bishops conference. Few believe it can be settled in the course of a year or two. What we have to do is be prepared to express our anger now until November, get it all out, then let our anger turn into resolve. We must be resolved to stick with the plan. We must be resolved to stay the course. We must be resolved and prepared to deprive our bishops (even the good ones) of fundraising donations for months or years if necessary.

When the matter is finally resolved, we will know it. There will be no mistaking it or missing it. The problem bishops will be gone. The good bishops will have enacted zero-tolerance measures amongst themselves and they will stand with us shoulder-to-shoulder against this travesty. We’ll start to see good catechises again, especially on traditional Catholic sexual morality. Then and only then might we start giving again, but only to the good bishops.

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